Why Your HR Department Needs to Drive Green

Image from Bucks Consultants

By Greg Moran, CEO of Chequed.com

One way to categorize all organizations would be to determine those who are green and those who are not.  Luckily, the latter group is shrinking, as Buck Consultants asserts that more than sixty percent of companies include environmental responsibility a part of their mission statement.  However, if you find your organization now falls in the minority, failing to adopt environmentally friendly initiatives, it’s not too late to act and here are just a few good reasons why:

  • To offset the carbon dioxide output of the average person’s annual business flights, six trees would have to be planted and grown to maturity (99 years).
  • The average American office worker uses 500 disposable cups each year, contributing to the approximate 115 million tons of annual commercial waste.
  • Every year, roughly 1.3 million acres of formerly unpaved land is covered in asphalt – typically without engaging in any environmentally offsetting behaviors

However after determining that environmental sustainability is a priority for your organization, the question turns to who will lead the change.  Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is actually loud and clear: the HR department.  HR is key in the development of organizational culture as they are often the first in contact with new recruits and maintain contact with personnel across all departments.

By spearheading the change and clearly demonstrating how successful simple changes can be, the green fever is certain to emanate beyond HR, throughout the entire organization.

Create a roadmap

The first step in any adventure is to determine where you’re going.  So, when HR decides that they’re ready to lead their organization’s green revolution, they must devise an environmental responsibility charter.  Unfortunately, surveys show that even organizations that are actively engaged in environmentally responsible behaviors have skipped this critical step (Buck consultants).

Consider the charter as a lead in to incorporating green initiatives in your organization’s mission statement.  The charter should include your definition of environment sustainability, measurable goals, and a brief overview of how such goals will be achieved.  Studies show that if the entire department is given the opportunity to actively participate in the charter’s creation, motivation and commitment to it will be dramatically higher.

Consider your communication

Communication technology has come a long way in the last two decades and HR departments that haven’t already welcomed it with open arms are seriously missing out.  The use of talent management software, automated reference checking software and video interviews will not only drastically reduce travel expenses, but will also improve the overall recruitment process.  By quantifying the types of candidates that are successful within your firm and offering top candidates the opportunity to interview at their convenience, you’re sure to see an improvement in your efficiency rate and your bottom line.

Go paperless

While no office will ever completely abandon paper, it’s a good goal to shoot for.  Opting for a document management system instead of oversized storage rooms and endless rows of filing cabinets is a smart way to make a dramatic environmental impact while simultaneously reducing storage costs. Electronic documents are also more secure than paper files, which are more difficult to track, and every HR department knows the importance of appropriately secured personal information.

Implementing such simple, green initiatives into your HR department is a great way to put your organization on the road to environmental sustainability that really makes a difference.  While small changes in your everyday activities may not seem as though they possess a significant impact, over time, the positive financial and environmental results are quite astonishing.

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